Money in the dirt

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has announced it is in the process of approving an unfunded risk participation in Monsanto, the U.S.-based largest seed company in the world, to the tune of $40 million U.S. dollars.

Once approved, the money would be offered to Monsanto—the Fortune 500 company which is not only the largest seed purveyor in the world (both GMO and non-GMO), but also the fourth largest agrochemical company in the world with earnings of more than $10.5 billion last year—beginning in April 2013.

According to the EBRD, the money would offset any losses for Monsanto in the case that farming operations fail to pay for seeds or pesticides, reports BankWatch.org. “It is absolutely outrageous that the EBRD plans to use public money to support a giant that already dominates the global seeds and agrochemicals markets,” said Ionut Apostol, CEE Bankwatch Network’s EBRD coordinator.

While much of the EU maintains tight restrictions on genetically modified seeds—which comprises the majority of Monsanto’s seed business—countries including Turkey, Russia and the Ukraine have devoted large farming areas to some non-GMO Monsanto seeds, such as hybrids. “The EBRD has as a stated goal to promote the private sector and competition in transition countries; how could giving money to one of the world’s richest corporations possibly count as fulfilling this mission?” Apostol asked in a statement on the Bankwatch Network’s website.

Pippa Gallop, a research coordinator at the Bankwatch Network wrote: “Monsanto’s record of corporate social irresponsibility is breathtaking, and that alone would be reason enough to disqualify it from backing by public development institutions,” citing incidents including a lawsuit for biopiracy filed by the Indian government and lawsuits filed by U.S. and Brazilian farmers over patents and royalty issues.

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Image: Tax Credits